Deb Nevin took over as Manager of the Center for about a year, and then retired on the 30th of March. I thought it was a good idea to have some fresh eyes and ideas brought to the Center, as I was Manager for 12 years prior. Since her retirement, the momentum of the Center that Deb brought with her has carried on. As you can see, the number of customers who used the Center is at an all-time high, matched only in 2014. These are not the number of questions that were asked of staff (those would be in the hundreds, perhaps thousands). These were individual interactions with people regarding Intellectual Property.
I attended the annual training seminar in Alexandria, VA and, as always, thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and learned many new things beneficial to our customers. The biggest and best program incentive now available in the majority of states is the Pro-Bono Program. This program was introduced in 2014, and offers individuals who qualify low or no cost help in all areas of patents; filing out applications, answering questions that I may not be qualified to answer, and many other aspects regarding patent procedures that we do not have the resources to offer. When we had our Foundations of Intellectual Property program in November, a speaker from the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts introduced their participation in the program. They are located in New York City, as they are the nearest organization that offers this assistance.
Users of Innovation Q, a database we subscribe to, have increased. I had a customer who was a loyal PubEast user (the database Patent Examiners use) who actually changed his preference from PubEast to ours. It is extremely easy to use and offers statistical data and analysis of markets that may pertain to the areas of interest of an inventor. It generates results based on your query which can be in the form of a concept instead of solely key words. It can also take an issued patent that a searcher may find close to their invention, and use that as the main concept, bringing results similar to that prior art. This in turn significantly reduces the time it takes to do a complete patent search.
As mentioned, the Foundations of Intellectual Property was a successful half-day program offered in November. Twenty five people attended, and speakers included Tracy Jong of Tracy Jong Law Firm, Amy Lehman from Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Virginia Smith from the Buffalo branch of the US Small Business Administration, and yours truly to talk about the resources of the Carlson Center. I have had the pleasure of giving a presentation on Intellectual Property at a few libraries in the area, and will be heading out to the Mendon Library in March.
The Rochester Inventors Group continues to meet monthly to discuss aspects of Intellectual Property, as well as to provide a wonderful networking opportunity. Generally they have about 10 people attend these meetings, and I try to poke my head in to introduce myself as well remind them what the Carlson Center can do for them.
On an evening in June, Jason Cristofaro, PhD, JD, an intellectual property attorney with the National Cancer Institute, will present “Partnering with the NCI: How to Access Therapeutic Development and Moonshot Resources. Dr. Cristofaro’s work has focused on implementing intellectual property policy to support DCTD’s core function of advancing the development of novel anticancer therapeutic agents, with a particular focus on enabling innovative public-private partnerships.
Our long time Librarian Tom Bolkan retired at the beginning of 2018. He fastidiously took care of our Plant Patent documents, labeling and storing them, and provided off-desk time for me, so I could meet with customers without the stress of having to be “on call” to provide reference services. Lily Anthony has assumed Tom’s role, and will be attending this year’s Patent and Trademark seminar in April, along with Jennifer Byrnes.